Adding one of the best soundbars to your entertainment setup is a key step to getting extra oomph out of your favorite games or more immersed in your favorite movies and shows.
If you've never used a soundbar before, you might be surprised at the difference it can make. Soundbars are the quickest and most cost-effective way to transform media, and a massive improvement over the typically tinny and anemic speakers that come fitted to most TVs. And if you throw a subwoofer into the mix too, they can add a level of depth and richness to content that was never there before.
Better yet, soundbars come in all shapes and sizes, and within a variety of price ranges. That means no matter how much you have to spend, or how much space you have, there's sure to be a soundbar that can fit into your budget and home setup. Read on for our top picks for the best soundbars, followed by a deeper dive into each and every model we recommend.
What are the best soundbars?
We tested dozens of soundbars and found the Sonos Playbase to be the best soundbar overall for those willing to spend a premium, thanks to its versatility and rich sound as a home theater speaker. If you're on a budget, the Vizio SB2920 ($78.99/£100/AU$150) tops our list of the best cheap soundbars.
We're also fans of the new Bose Soundbar 500, which delivers rich sound and support for both Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant for a solid price, as well as the Roku Smart Soundbar, which packs a built-in 4K HDR Roku player.
But what if you need a soundbar to fit inside a tight space within your entertainment center? In that case, the Polk MagniFi Mini is an excellent option, delivering big sound despite its compact dimensions, while also offering a wireless subwoofer and Google Cast support for audio.
On the other end of the spectrum, some soundbars, like Samsung's HW-N850, are equipped to replace a full home theater setup. Samsung's offering spans 48 inches and contains 13 drivers, building a virtual surround sound space that can truly envelop a room. But then, with a price stretching just beyond the $1,000 mark, that's the kind of experience you'd expect.
There are also some great new soundbars coming up on the horizon, including the sleek Vizio Elevate with its fresh look and high-res Dolby Atmos support as well as the TCL Alto 9+ with its uniquely retro design.
But you don't have to wait to upgrade your home entertainment setup with great sound. See all of our best soundbar picks below.
The best soundbars you can buy today
1. Sonos Playbase
The best soundbar overall
Size: 28.35 x 14.96 x 2.28 inches | Inputs/Outputs: Ethernet, Optical Audio | Audio Channels: N/A | Bluetooth: No (Wi-Fi capable) | Subwoofer: No | Wattage: N/A | Wall Mountable: No
The premium Sonos Playbase features just about everything you could want in a soundbar, offering room-filling sound within a slick design that will look great in your entertainment center or directly under your TV. That's why it's the best soundbar you can buy.
The Playbase is big on bass (as its name suggests) and offers rich vocals thanks to its 10 custom-made drivers. It also does a great job doubling as a Wi-Fi speaker for any of your favorite music apps. But best of all, it can be paired with any other Sonos speakers in your home for the ultimate multiroom experience, and supports voice commands via Amazon's Alexa.
At $699, the Playbase is hardly an accessible option for everyone. However, it does everything so well, and is so easy to set up and use, that we highly recommend it for just about anyone's entertainment setup.
Read our full Sonos Playbase review.
2. Yamaha YAS-108
Our top soundbar pick under $200
Size: 35 x 5.1 x 2.1 inches, 7 pounds | Inputs/Outputs: HDMI in/out, digital optical, analog audio, subwoofer, HDMI | Audio Channels: Stereo | Bluetooth: Yes | Subwoofer: No | Wattage: 27W | Wall Mountable: Yes
The Yamaha YAS-108 offers an impressive amount of features for a $200 soundbar, including HDMI, 4K passthrough, a variety of sound modes and Bluetooth support for jamming out to music. It also packs excellent sound into its small design, offering crisp highs and satisfying bass thanks to built-in subwoofers that boost the low end without the need for additional speakers.
If you like to fine-tune, the YAS-108 packs several presets including 3D surround for maximum immersion and Clear Voice for upping the dialogue. It's rare you'll find this combination of features for the price, making the YAS-108 one of the best soundbars you can find under $200.
Read our full Yamaha YAS-108 review.
3. VIZIO SB2920-C6
A very good soundbar under $100
Size: 28.75 x 3 x 3 inches, 4.5 pounds | Inputs/Outputs: Stereo RCA, 3.5mm, coaxial, optical, RCA sub, USB | Audio Channels: 2.0 | Bluetooth: Yes | Subwoofer: No | Wattage: N/A | Wall Mountable: Yes
The Vizio SB2920 is the best soundbar value for the price, delivering an immersive soundstage, crisp treble and solid bass despite not having a subwoofer. The SB2920 delivers 95 dB of sound with support for DTS Studio SoundTM and DTS TruSurroudTM, making it great for folks who want to have a theater-esque experience on a budget.
Ideal for smaller TVs, this 28-inch soundbar also packs Bluetooth support for easy music streaming, and plenty of ways to connect. If you're looking to spend less than $100 on your next soundbar, or perhaps need a temporary solution, this is the one to buy. Better yet, no one would ever suspect you spent so little on it.
4. Polk MagniFi Mini
The soundbar to get for smaller spaces
Size: 13.4 x 4.3 x 3.1 inches | Inputs/Outputs: HDMI, Digital Optical, Ethernet, USB | Audio Channels: 5.1, stereo | Bluetooth: Yes | Subwoofer: Yes | Wattage: N/A | Wall Mountable: No
No soundbar packs huge audio into a tiny package quite like the Polk MagniFi Mini does. This unassuming speaker will fit seamlessly into any setup, and delivers crisp dialogue and deep bass with the help of its included wireless subwoofer. Plus, with Google Cast support, the MagniFi Mini doubles as a great home music speaker.
The MagniFi Mini gets loud enough to fill most bedrooms and small apartments, and we found it reliable for getting immersed in movies and shows. Factor in a handy remote and and an easy setup process, and you've got the best soundbar out there for folks short on space. And at $300, it won't set you back much, either.
Read our full Polk MagniFi Mini review.
5. Yamaha YAS-209
Alexa integration at a great price
Size: 36.6 x 4.3 x 2.5-inches | Inputs/Outputs: HDMI in/out, digital optical in | Audio Channels: Stereo, DTS Virtual X Surround | Bluetooth: Yes
The Yamaha YAS-209 is an excellent package for the price, getting you great overall sound, a wireless subwoofer for beefy bass and Alexa support for handy voice controls. The soundbar itself is one of the sleeker models we've tested, with a 36-inch design that should look great under most TVs.
The soundbar's four 1.75-inch drivers deliver immersive sound for movies and shows. What's more, the built in Alexa functionality makes it easy to control any smart device in your home — even when the soundbar is off. We wish there was more than just one HDMI port on the back, but even despite that nitpick, the YAS-209 offers a lot to like.
Read our full Yamaha YAS-209 review.
6. Sonos Beam
Big sound and controls your smart home
Size: 25.6 x 3.9 x 2.7 inches, 6.2 pounds | Inputs/Outputs: HDMI Arc, optical audio, Wi-Fi, Apple AirPlay 2 | Audio Channels: Stereo | Bluetooth: No
The Sonos Beam is a small, affordable and great-sounding soundbar that also doubles as a neat smart home gadget. This speaker has full Alexa integration, allowing you to, say, control your Fire TV with just your voice, or ask about the weather or control your smart lights while binging Netflix from the couch.
It also delivers big on the audio front for its price, with a wide soundstage and crisp dialogue that will make your favorite movies and shows sing. We'd really like the Beam to embrace Bluetooth (you'll need the Sonos Move for that), but it's still an excellent choice if you want an Alexa-ready soundbar with great performance.
Read our full Sonos Beam review.
7. Bose Soundbar 500
A great soundbar with Alexa and Google Assistant
Size: 31.5 x 4 x 1.8 inches, 7 pounds | Inputs/Outputs: HDMI ARC, eARC, CEC, Optical, USB | Audio Channels: Stereo | Bluetooth: Yes | Subwoofer: No | Wattage: N/A | Wall Mountable: Yes
The Bose Soundbar 500 is an incredibly well-rounded package, offering rich sound, foolproof ease-of-use and support for both Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa for voice controls. The Soundbar 500's slim design fits seamlessly into most home entertainment setups, and supports HDMI ARC, which allows you to use the soundbar to control any device hooked up to your TV.
For a slim soundbar without a subwoofer, the Soundbar 500 delivers impressively crisp dialogue for movies and TV shows, and offers solid bass when you're thumping music via Bluetooth or AirPlay 2. Factor in reliable voice assistant controls and a painless setup process, and you've got the best soundbar in this price range.
Read our full Bose Soundbar 500 review.
8. Roku Smart Soundbar
Soundbar meets streaming player
Size: 32.2 x 3.9 x 2.8 inches, 5.5 pounds | Inputs/Outputs: HDMI ARC, Optical In, USB 2.0 | Audio Channels: Stereo | Bluetooth: Yes | Subwoofer: No | Wattage: N/A | Wall Mountable: N/A
If you're looking for an affordable soundbar and don't yet have a reliable streaming player, the Roku Smart Soundbar gives you both in the same package. This soundbar doubles as a fully-featured 4K HDR Roku player, giving you access to every top streaming app including Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime and Apple TV.
The Smart Soundbar also delivers solid audio for the price, pumping out strong bass and crisp treble (you can pair it with the optional $180 Roku Wireless Subwoofer if you want more low end). Roku's soundbar even supports Alexa and Google Assistant for easy voice controls. While you'll get more refined sound from some of the higher-end speakers on this list, the Roku Smart Soundbar offers a compelling mix of sound quality and functionality for streaming junkies.
Read our full Roku Smart Soundbar review.
9. Samsung HW-N850
Surround sound experience without multiple speakers
Size: 48.3 x 5.4 x 3.3 inches | Inputs/Outputs: HDMI Arc, HDMI (2), optical | Audio Channels: 5.1.2 | Bluetooth: Yes | Subwoofer: Yes | Wattage: 372W | Wall Mountable: Yes
The Samsung HW-N850 is one of the few soundbars that can replace a full home theater setup. Packing a big, bassy subwoofer and support for immersive Dolby Atmos audio, this beastly 48-inch bar will immerse you in your favorite shows and movies without forcing you to put a myriad of speakers all over your living room. It's a good solution for anyone who wishes they had a more comprehensive physical surround sound setup, but understandably doesn't want to go through the hassle.
Add in Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and HDMI ARC support, and the HW-N850 is one of the best soundbars that is as engrossing as setups that cost hundreds of dollars more.
Read our full Samsung HW-N850 review.
How to choose the best soundbar for you
There are a number of factors that play into deciding which soundbar you should buy. Size will likely be the most immediately prohibitive for most customers; you obviously need a soundbar that will suit your TV and space constraints within your entertainment console. And, because a soundbar is one of the centerpieces of your home theater setup, it has to look good and fit stylistically.
Then you have to factor in the size of the room you're dealing with, and the distance viewers would typically be sitting from the TV. If you're dealing with a larger space, it's probably best to target soundbars that come with a subwoofer — you'll surely appreciate the extra bass.
Ports and connectivity is crucial too, both in terms of wired and wireless access. Not every soundbar comes with an HDMI port; some force you to make do with optical audio. That's perfectly fine if you want to use your TV as a pass-through, but those who are in dire need of more HDMI ports — because their capacity is limited between game consoles, streaming boxes and so on — will need to prioritize options that offer those additional connections.
Finally, more and more of the best soundbars are embracing Dolby Atmos, which is a surround sound technology designed to simulate the immersive 3D audio you'd get from a movie theater. The big difference between Atmos and traditional surround sound is that you'll hear sound move up and down and not just side-to-side, allowing you to get extra immersed when, say, a car flies overhead in an action movie. There are already lots of soundbars that support Atmos, including the LG SJ9, Sony HT-ST5000, and Yamaha YSP-5600. For more on the technology, check out our complete guide to Dolby Atmos.
How we test soundbars
When testing for inclusion in our best soundbars page, we play a range of media — including movies, music and games — in order to evaluate overall sound quality. We also test any companion software that may come with a soundbar, and factor in how easy it is to set up and use each device.
Other features we consider include a soundbar's inputs, outputs and ability to be wall mounted, all of which determine how well it will work with your home entertainment setup. We also take into account each soundbar's wattage, its supported audio channels and whether it includes a subwoofer — all factors that greatly affect how each speaker will sound in your living room.